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Why Do Children Need Sedation Dentistry?

Most children need some form of medication to help them relax during procedures like fillings or crowns. There are several different sedation options and your dentist can help you decide what’s right for your child based on their age, personality, and the duration of the procedure.

The main reason we use sedation is for physical and emotional safety. The dental tools could injure a child if they aren’t able to stay still. Physical restraint methods like the papoose board, which involves physically immobilizing a child, are now viewed by many dentists as potentially traumatic. Using appropriate sedation in combination with positive behavioral techniques is recommended.

Dentists who have worked with children for a long time have a pretty good sense of how well a child will tolerate a specific procedure. Dr. Asha is known for her patience and only recommends sedation if it’s really needed. As a mom herself, she understands a parent or guardian’s hesitation and makes sure they are empowered to make the best decision.

A toddler boy walks around on a patio exploring

Types of Sedation Dentistry Available at Super Kids Austin

With any type of medication, there are risks of allergic or other reactions. However, these are rare. Your dentist can discuss individual risks for your child. There are also risks of untreated dental decay, including infection and tooth loss. Our first priority is the health and safety of our patients.

Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Inhalation Sedation

This is a light form of sedation that the patient inhales through a nose piece. It causes the child to feel relaxed during the procedure while still being able to respond to questions and follow directions. The child must be able to tolerate the mask on the nose and breathe calmly to be able to use nitrous.

Local Anesthesia

This type of medication is applied directly to a small area of the mouth to numb the pain caused by the procedure. Most people who have had a cavity filled have had this type of anesthesia. It causes temporary loss of sensation and usually wears off within hours.

Oral Conscious Sedation

In this form of sedation, patients take a medication that causes them to be very sleepy, though they can still respond and maintain motor skills. Their reflexes are impaired until the medicine wears off completely. This type of sedation is administered in the office.

Deep Sedation

This is a deeper form of sedation, in which patients are in a deep sleep and are not aware of the procedure. Medication is delivered through an IV and an anesthesiologist monitors the child while the dentist focuses on the dental procedure. At Super Kids Austin, we often work with Pediatric Dental Anesthesia Associates to treat patients in our office with IV sedation.

General Anesthesia

Done at a hospital, this is the deepest form of sedation and makes the patient completely unconscious so that they have no memory of the procedure at all. Pediatric anesthesiologists monitor the child’s breathing and heart rate at all times. When the procedure is finished, the patient goes to recovery and is discharged within a few hours provided no complications occur.

 

Can Fillings Be Delayed?

Depending on the size of the decay, it’s possible to delay dental restorations until a child is a bit older (and likely more compliant). Dr. Asha uses Silver Diamine Fluoride on some of those patients with small cavities that are low risk for infection. What’s key in any situation is to make sure that you have your child visit the dentist at least every six months for the best possible preventative care.